DNR urges fire safety during holiday weekend.

September 1, 2015

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is urging residents and visitors to be cautious when lighting, enjoying and extinguishing their outdoor fires this Labor Day weekend.

Dan Laux, DNR fire prevention specialist, said that despite recent rain, Michigan is seeing late summer conditions where fuels, such as grass and leaves, are approaching the end of their growing season.

“Even with wet weather, once fuels are dead they can dry out quickly,” he said. “Wind can aid that process and will increase the rate at which a fire spreads out of control.

“A few simple precautions can help keep small fires small and ensure they won’t escape to cause injury or major damage.”

The DNR recommends following these precautions to ensure fire safety:

  • Clear away all flammables before lighting a fire.
  • Never leave any fire unattended, even for a moment.
  • Keep all campfires and debris fires small.
  • Have water available in case a fire begins to flare up. If a fire does escape, call 911 immediately before attempting to put it out.
  • When done with a fire, drown it with plenty of water. Wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces. Stir the ashes to find any hot embers and wet everything again.
  • Do not simply bury a fire; soil will act as an insulating blanket and mask the heat beneath the surface.
  • Always make sure fires are completely out. Carelessness and improperly extinguished coals are a leading cause of escaped fires.

“We want folks to enjoy their time camping, hiking and spending the long weekend with friends and family, but we also ask everyone keep fire safety in mind while they’re doing so,” Laux said. “This fire season has been more active than the last two years in Michigan. Because most wildfires are caused by carelessness, increasing public awareness about fire prevention is imperative all year.”

So far in 2015, the DNR has responded to 325 wildfires that have burned more than 2,800 acres.

For more information on campfire tips, wildfire prevention, burn permits and fire preparedness, visitwww.michigan.gov/preventwildfires.

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